Mannford soldier recovering from his combat wounds in Texas

Thursday, December 30th 2004, 9:58 am
By: News On 6

It's been just over a week since the horrific explosion in an Army mess hall in Mosul Iraq killed 22 people including 13 Americans.

One of the survivors was Army Sergeant Russell Vaught of Mannford. He talked with the News on 6 about his survival story.

With his family at his bedside Sergeant Russell Vaught is recovering from his injuries at Brook Army Medical Center in San Antonio. "I was happy I was alive. Couldn't understand how I lived through it." He had just finished luncheon December 21st when the mess hall seemed to explode around him. "Behind me and to my right there was an explosion. At first I thought it was a mortar." But that would have been a one in a million shot he thought. "All I was thinking was I've got to get out of the area in case there were more, 'cause they always fire them in volleys."

And he knew he was hurt. "My hands were burning my face was burning. I was low crawling across the floor in case there was something else coming in." Some of his fellow soldiers got to him, cleared the blood off his face and assessed his injuries. He had a cracked pelvis, a collapsed lung shrapnel wounds and burns on his hands and face, but he was alive. "When I was lying there on the floor I was re-assessing parts of my life. I'm definitely looking forward to being home and spending time with my family more."

For his family the waiting has been difficult not knowing how he was and even always where he was. The experience has taught his wife Lisa something very important. "Don’t take your loved ones for granted. Spend as much time with them as you can because you never know what's going to happen." A New Years resolution perhaps for all of us.

Lisa Vaught says she plans to stay in San Antonio until she can bring her husband home.